Hitachi has become the second Japanese engineering firm – along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – to express an interest in joining Germany’s Siemens in a possible bid for French company Alstom’s energy business.
Katsumi Nagasawa, head of Hitachi’s power systems group, said the joint Siemens-Mitsubishi Heavy bid was “great news”.
He added: “Mitsubishi Heavy is our partner. We want to work together with them.”
They would be going up against US conglomerate General Electric.
Siemens got involved after the French government objected to a US company taking control of what they see as strategic national assets.
A three-party bid would mean more money and greater flexibility.
The two Japanese companies – who already have a partnership in thermal power – reportedly want to buy Alstom’s steam turbine operations while Siemens is interested in the French firm’s gas turbine business.
Two sources familiar with the Siemens-Mitsubishi plan have told Reuters it would not be a direct buyout of Alstom’s power assets but would rather set up one or several joint holdings in power generation.
They added that Siemens was still ready to give Alstom its train business as part of the deal – although the French group has so far not shown much interest in such an asset swap.
Such a plan could, however, address calls from the Paris government to favour partnerships over a straight sale of Alstom’s power arm – which accounts for 70 percent of group revenue. The politicians fear the company would be too vulnerable once it was reduced to its smaller transport business.
Alstom and Siemens have not commented on the reports.